TMJ disorder is a condition that is misdiagnosed quite frequently. TMJ disorder can cause side effects that can be severe. Some of these side effects include jaw pain, back pain, headaches, problems with biting or chewing, TMJ tinnitus, ear pain and more. Therefore, it’s a good idea to see a TMJ specialist if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.
TMJ specialists are dentists who specialize in TMJ and they can design more effective treatment methods for you for this complex problem. Unfortunately, there are not many TMJ specialists that are currently in practice, therefore, most of the problems with TMJ are being handled by a host of other medical and dental specialists.
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Who to See For Getting Help with TMJ
TMJ disorders can occur due to several different reasons. The major problem is the joint that controls the movement of your mouth. TMJ disc problems result when bones begin rubbing against one another. Eventually you can develop pain or numbness in the jaw area. When a patient starts to experience chronic pain, they can go to a dentist who specializes in this field. The dentist will have the advanced training to not only diagnose the problem but also to plan and design specific treatments for patients depending on the primary cause of each individual’s TMJ disorder.
Because TMJ attacks the joints in the body, those who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis are bothered the most from TMJ pain. TMJ is a joint, so any disorder that affect joints could affect and cause TMJ problems. The jaw joint is not immune from rheumatoid arthritis, however, a specialist can design therapy or treatments that can help this joint cope with the chronic nature of rheumatoid arthritis.The same is true of fibromyalgia, another chronic disorder affecting joints in the body.
Other examples of those with the disorder are people who are born with structural problems in their jaw or those that develop problems due to an accident or a problem with the nerves. This is why a specialist in TMJ has to be fairly knowledgeable about many systems in the human body so as to pick the correct treatment.
What Can a Specialist Do For You?
Since many conditions might cause symptoms that are identical to TMJ dysfunction such as sinus problems, toothache, gum disease, or arthritis, your dentist or primary care physician will carry out a very careful history and clinical exam in order to establish the cause of these symptoms.The medical professional who is examining your TMJ for tenderness or pain will listen for sounds of popping or clicking and grating sounds during the movement of the jaw. He will look to see whether the jaw and head motions are limited and look to see if total locking of the jaw while closing or opening the mouth occurs.
The specialist will examine your facial muscle functioning as well as your bite. Often a panoramic set of x-rays will be taken allowing the dentist to view the entire jaw, teeth, and joint to make certain other problems are not the cause of the symptoms. Most of the time further types of imaging tests are required. For example, the specialist may use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), a computer tomography, or a CT scan to examine you further. The MRI can show soft tissues such as the TMJ disc and can show the positioning of the jaw when it moves and a CT scan can help view the bony details of the joint. If problems are found, your dentist or primary care physician usually refers you to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon specializing in TMJ surgeries for treatment in and around the entire mouth, face and jaw area.
Number of People with TMJ Problems
Statistically most individuals will, at some point in their life, experience some type of disorder with TMJ. In the U.S. over 10 million adults feel pain from TMJ syndrome. More than 15% of adults in America suffer from some type of chronic facial pain. The majority are women, and of these women, the majority are in their childbearing years.
Risk Factors for TMJ Problems
Risk factors for TMJ problems show that women among the ages of 20 to 50 statistically have a greater risk of having problems resulting from TMJ. If you grind your teeth at night, chew gum excessively, smoke or have gum problems, you are also at a higher risk. Did you know Dental Pro 7 is a professional strength dental solution you can try RISK FREE to treat for unhealthy teeth and gum problems. Click to learn more about Dental Pro 7.